HMO's and communal areas

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    HMO's and communal areas

    I live in a HMO which has a communal kitchen dinner, bath room, shower room, toilets and garden. The landlord does regular inspections of the communal areas and complains about ridicules things. We all manage to live happily and respectfully in the house without any fuss. However, after every land lord inspection we get e-mails forwarded on via the letting agent from the landlord requesting that stacked plastic storage boxes are removed from under the stairs, that glass recycling box in the kitchen is emptied, that tea towel are removed from hanging in the kitchen, that a small suitcase is removed from the hall, that shower gels and shampoo bottles are not left in the bathrooms… on and on and one. We keep the house clean and tidy, we are respectful good tenants. We are all young professionals and it feels very disrespectful for the LL to be complaining about silly things. Have I got any rights – this his bordering harassment via ‘nit-picking’ !

    #2
    Originally posted by Whitcla View Post
    I live in a HMO which has a communal kitchen dinner, bath room, shower room, toilets and garden. The landlord does regular inspections of the communal areas and complains about ridicules things. We all manage to live happily and respectfully in the house without any fuss. However, after every land lord inspection we get e-mails forwarded on via the letting agent from the landlord requesting that stacked plastic storage boxes are removed from under the stairs, that glass recycling box in the kitchen is emptied, that tea towel are removed from hanging in the kitchen, that a small suitcase is removed from the hall, that shower gels and shampoo bottles are not left in the bathrooms… on and on and one. We keep the house clean and tidy, we are respectful good tenants. We are all young professionals and it feels very disrespectful for the LL to be complaining about silly things. Have I got any rights – this his bordering harassment via ‘nit-picking’ !
    Do you have a joint AST contract or individual ones?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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      #3
      Individual contracts

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        #4
        Originally posted by Whitcla View Post
        Individual contracts
        In that case your LL has the right to access the communal areas whenever he wishes, although I agree with you that his approach does seem over the top. I don't think his activities and his demands legally constitute harassment as such, although it must feel a bit like it. He perhaps does not realise what a fusspot he is.

        You have a choice :

        (i) either politely acknowledge his requests, but do nothing about them (this seems unsatisfactory and will probably make him even more insistent)
        (ii) accede to them (which will make him think it's OK to nag you like that, which it isn't)
        (iii) or tell him collectively (preferably in writing) that although you like the house and enjoy living with each other, you are all feeling very ground down by his micro-management of your tenancy and unless he trusts you to behave responsibly without continuously reminding you about minor domestic issues, you will all regretfully be obliged to look for somewhere else to live.

        I would advise (iii). Good luck!

        PS Tell him he can come and nag my tenants about their rubbish, if he wants!
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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          #5
          Thank you. I think we'll go with the joint letter. Unfortunately, the property is owned by a University so I doubt our threat to move out will make them bat an eye - blinking job-worths - they should be grateful that they have nice tenants.

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            #6
            Originally posted by Whitcla View Post
            Thank you. I think we'll go with the joint letter. Unfortunately, the property is owned by a University so I doubt our threat to move out will make them bat an eye - blinking job-worths - they should be grateful that they have nice tenants.
            What do you mean, exactly - 'owned by the University'? Who is this guy that keeps coming round and nagging, then? He cannot be the LL if the property is owned by a Uni. The Uni would be your LL.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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              #7
              The Uni employs someone to come round and do inspections and they then contact the letting agent who then have to contact the tenants. Even the letting agents think it OTT- but what can we do? Can a landlord remove items from the communal areas of the house if they belong to the tenants? For example my plastic storage boxes under the stairs.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Whitcla View Post
                The Uni employs someone to come round and do inspections and they then contact the letting agent who then have to contact the tenants. Even the letting agents think it OTT- but what can we do? Can a landlord remove items from the communal areas of the house if they belong to the tenants? For example my plastic storage boxes under the stairs.
                Yes, they can employ someone to check the property. Universities are often paranoid about safety, especially fire safety. The plastic boxes under the stairs may be a fire/toxic smoke issue - I don't know.

                Anyway, it's worth writing the letter to the Uni accommodation office (or whoever you signed the tenancy agreement with).
                'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                  #9
                  The items about tea towels and shampoo bottles are annoying and I suggest that a letter would be a reasonable response.

                  Storing items - even neatly in boxes - in the staircase/hallways is a real issue and potential liability for the LL. Any Fire Risk Assessment will highlight their removal. If they are not your LL then is liable [criminally]. Now an independant LL may be happy to ignore this but a large corporate LL - like a university - will not.

                  Regardless of whether you as a household collectively agreed to store items there you have no right to do so. In the same way you have no right to use your neighbours garden for a BBQ.

                  If you want relief from the trivial things - like shampoo bottles - then you need to shift the stuff out of the communal areas.
                  There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                  If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                  Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

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                    #10
                    If this is student housing (hall-of-residence..) think the law may be a bit different - see

                    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...tudent_housing

                    Are you students or (oopps.. not sure of correct term...) "not-students"...
                    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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